Last Friday we went to see the film Fisherman’s Friends: One and All. It’s the second film made about the Fisherman’s Friends musical group from Port Isaac on the North Cornwall coast. Though it’s a fictional story, it’s based on real people and real events.
The Friends started singing traditional folk songs and sea shanties down at Port Isaac harbour back in 1995 just for the fun of it and to entertain anyone who cared to stop and listen. They all have their day-jobs and they say that their friendship comes first and the music second.
The music is handed down and traditional. It comes from living close to the sea and the land. Port Isaac, with its narrow winding streets and alleyways is the epitome of closeness and community. The scenery is gently spectacular, with the cosy harbour, seascape and rolling hills.
This Cornish idyll, though temporarily disturbed by a falling out between the friends through the pain of a bereavement, chimes with something deep inside us. A desire for community. To belong and to connect.
Though we live in an age when we can live and work anywhere in the world, we are still social animals. We want to be connected. Hence social media and the constant presence of our mobile phones. Yes, they can connect us.
But real community is about living, working, sharing, suffering, supporting and rejoicing together. It is allied to the African concept of Ubuntu championed by Desmond Tutu: “I am because you are.”